x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Bombs kill 16 and wound 57 in Baghdad

Twin suicide bombings near Shiite mosques in Baghdad kill 16 people as worshippers celebrate Eid al Fitr.

A shoe lies on the ground as Iraqis gather near the site of a suicide bomb at Baghdad's Al-Jadida neighborhood
A shoe lies on the ground as Iraqis gather near the site of a suicide bomb at Baghdad's Al-Jadida neighborhood

Suicide bombers struck Shiite worshippers today as they gathered at two prayer halls in Baghdad to celebrate the end of Ramadan, killing 16 people and wounding nearly 60, officials said. Baghdad's security spokesman Major Gen Qassim Moussawi said an attack in the Zafaraniya area killed 10 people and wounded 31. In the other strike, in the New Baghdad district, the bomber was a teenage boy, who was accosted by a member of the security forces before blowing himself up 80 metres from a prayer hall, killing 6 people and wounding 26, Major Gen Moussawi said. Both districts are Shiite areas in the east of the capital. The death tolls could rise, police said. It was the second major spate of bombings in the capital in recent days apparently linked to the Eid al Fitr holiday marking Ramadan's end, one of the main celebrations in the Islamic year when Muslims attend mosque services and family feasts. Government officials had warned that militants might strike during the holiday. For most of Iraq's Shiites today is the main day of celebration for the holiday, which Sunni Muslims began observing earlier in the week. The government has declared a six-day public holiday to cover sects who observe it on different days. Violence overall in Iraq is at four-year lows and militants no longer control large numbers of villages and city districts as they did until 2007. But militant cells are still active and able to carry out bomb attacks. On Sunday evening a spate of four bombs killed at least 32 people in Baghdad, many of them out buying Eid al-Fitr gifts in the busy Karrada shopping district. *Reuters